Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Luther Price films at The Nightingale

Never pass up an evening of Luther Price films. Despite (if not because of) their propensity to assault us with crusty reminders of our perpetually decaying existence, they themselves are fragile things that sometimes fail to survive projection, perhaps never to be seen again, like scabs lost forever in shag carpeting. So a Luther Price screening is always a precious event indeed. Last night, White Light Cinema presented SLAM! – A Luther Price Super-8 Sampler at The Nightingale kicking off with Mr. Wonderful (1987, 10 min) which consists entirely of an uncomfortable close-up of Mister Rogers' Let's Be Together Today as selections from the album play on the soundtrack. The image has a bit of schmutz on it - ear wax, maybe, or dandruff. Fred sings "The Clown in Me" about acting the clown as a response to fear and uncertainty. You can hear the song in a different version below.

H.S.C. (1989, 10 min) was shot off a TV screen broadcasting the Home Shopping Club (now Network) selling us a Capodimonte porcelain figurine. I could've sworn that this then cut to home movies of a little girl showing off some ballet moves and being entertained by a clown at a party. But my friend Todd thought this latter footage was another film.

Jellyfish Sandwich (1994, 20 min) features old war footage (Pearl Harbor maybe), Asian women chatting, and upside-down football plays intercut into a maelstrom of angry energy. Todd: "That's exactly what I think of football!"

In the middle of the program, I lost track of which film is which but these were shown:

Porcelyn Ribbon [aka Porcelain Ribbon] (1995, 5 min)

Slam (1996, 5 min)

These & Those (1996, 4 min)

One of these combined hardcore gay porn with a western movie. But I'm certain about the final three.

Ritual 629 (1999, 13 min) - Two main layers of imagery - 1. creepily inert surgical footage (or some sort of meaty material) again shot off a television set (I think) and 2. more extreme porn including a man bringing his asshole down on a thin pole and another pissing or ejaculating into a wine glass. The soundtrack was industrial scrapes and clangs. My favorite.

Dead Ringer (1999, 4 min) - Yet another film shot off of a television screen, this time the climax of the 1964 film of the same name in which Bette Davis plays an identical twin who kills her sister and assumes her identity. You settle into the narrative but all too soon, it cuts off at an utterly random moment at which point it seems to signify or "happen." Why there, we wonder, as we do with so many events and lives cut short.

Yellow Goodbye (1999, 10 min) - This one started out with the feel of a Richard Kern film as it observes and swirls around (and with) two men in bad drag dancing around to, according to Fred Camper, a Cass Elliot song. It cuts to spinning footage of buildings taken from a courtyard and then to shots of a shirtless man imprisoned by yellowish scrapes on the film.

Overall, I'd say this Price screening was much easier to take but less profound than the last one I attended, Kittens, Biscuits, & Blots on March 20, 2011 which remains one of the most exhilarating, if punishing, cinematic experiences I've ever had, especially at the end when the last four films, all hand-painted and/or buried in the ground, flaked off in the projector until the final one, presumably Dusty Rickets (2007, approx. 8 min.), broke a few minutes in.

Added attractions: a fat cat named Simon who greeted us at the door; seats on the comfy couch in the front; and Charles the love hound who sat with us for the entire screening.

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